Moral Goodness


His divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.

~2 Peter 3:3, NRSV


The command by Jesus in the Sermon on the mount, “Be ye perfect,” is not idealistic gas. He {by grace} is going to make us into creatures that can obey that command.

~C. S. Lewis

Moral excellence or goodness has always been a problem for men. You and I understand the problem because we believe in the fall of man and original sin. As a result of the fall, we are cursed with a rebellious nature, a selfish tendency that says, “I want what I want when I want it and I’ll do whatever it takes to get it.” The Greeks understood the necessity of moral goodness but they denied the problem of sin. They did understand that no civilization can long endure without it moral goodness. This is what Plato deals with in his REPUBLIC. He believed the answer was education: Aristotle disagreed, he believed that moral goodness had to be legislated by the state. So the Greeks answer to the sin problem was education and legislation. You can see their influence in our culture today. Friedrich Nietzsche, who we generally think of as an enemy of Christ, was actually highly intelligent and he understood things that we do not. He like other historians of his time {W.E.H. Lecky and Michael Grant} believed that the culture of Western Europe and the US was built on the foundation of the Christian tradition of moral goodness. What’s been happening for the last 200 years is a move away from Christian morality and a move to secular humanism which is built on the Greek ideal of education and legislation. Nietzsche offended Christians by speaking the truth: he simply said, “The west is moving away from Christianity and drifting toward secularism,” and he was right. Secular humanism intends to be totally independent of anything Jesus taught or did.

Enough history, back to the problem of moral excellence. Man in and of himself cannot produce moral excellence; we cannot make ourselves good. Even when we try, we become self-righteous and arrogant at best, a new version of the Scribes and Pharisees. If you recall, Jesus was not impressed with their righteousness. The answer to the problem is JESUS and regeneration. When we are born again, Jesus begins forming Himself in us. Over time, we will become good because of His grace and His grace alone. He can make us disciples, He can make us fishers of men, He can make us holy and He can bring us to completion, without spot or blemish. I am not naive about my sin, I see my sin more clearly every day but I am confident of this: HIS POWER to transform is greater than the power of sin to deform. He will accomplish His purpose in me by the power of His grace.

We’ve had a great week of weather. It was like early fall yesterday but I think some cold weather is coming. I can’t complain, we had a lot of good. Well we have sick folks in every direction and one of my goals today is to check on them. James Russel is still in Decatur General and I think Clyde Gillott is still at CRMC.

Great children’t play at DBC last night. These Christmas Childrens Musical’s go way back: Linda Glenn started them in the 90’s. They keep getting bigger and better.

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